GNC Nature Blog

Back-to-School Shopping the Environmentally Friendly Way

Written by: Ilana Weinstein and Caroline Latta


As summer continues to wind down, we thought it would be helpful to compile a list of environmentally friendly tips to cover all your back-to-school needs. As you keep these tips handy, bear in mind that it is always important to avoid shopping “for the sake of shopping.” Instead, begin your back-to-school planning by taking inventory of what you already have and determining what you truly need. Once you’ve got your shortlist, shop away!


  • Pack lunches in reusable containers to reduce waste. Packed lunches are often healthier, more environmentally friendly, and cheaper than buying cafeteria food.
  • Children often outgrow clothes and shoes before their clothes wear out – consider donating old or unwanted clothes, shopping at thrift stores, or establishing clothing swaps at school to reduce clothing waste.
  • Use notebooks from cover to cover – if only a few pages are used in a notebook, recycle those pages and then use the notebook as if it were new.
  • Bring a reusable water bottle to school.
  • Buy at least 50% FSC recycled paper content for your stationery.
  • Pack healthy lunches of fruits and vegetables – this is better for you and better for the planet by reducing packaging waste.
  • Donate unused school supplies to students in need.
  • Buy school supplies with less packaging and seek those made with recycled and sustainably-harvested materials. Invest in sturdier products for years of use and reuse supplies.
  • Instead of sending your kids to school with disposable utensils, try bamboo cutlery or other reusable utensils.
  • Carpool or take the bus to school to reduce energy waste in transportation.


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